Teaching Philosophy. My goal as a science educator is to promote science literacy, critical thinking, and students’ confidence in their ability to understand, evaluate, conduct and communicate scientific research. I am a firm believer on student-centered classrooms and strive to increasingly incorporate active learning into my courses. At an age where information changes and accumulates faster than we can possibly assimilate, we can better service the next generation of scientists and citizens by teaching them how to teach themselves and to build well-informed opinions, rather than by emphasizing fact-loaded lectures. In addition, based on my own personal history, I know how transformative it can be when students are given the opportunity to engage in real scientific research. I try to propagate this by bringing real-world examples to the classroom, by participating in science outreach programs, and by involving undergraduates in my own research.
Courses Taught. I have taught undergraduate and advanced undergraduate/graduate courses at University of Missouri-St. Louis, University of California-Los Angeles, University of New Orleans and Tulane University. Below is an overview of the most recent courses I taught at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University:
EBIO1010 Biodiversity of Life. This course is an introduction to the depth and breadth of the biological diversity with which we share planet Earth. You will become familiar with evolutionary theory and processes, the classification of organisms and organismal diversity, and ecology. We will begin with discussion on the origins of life, history of biology and the development of evolutionary theory; we will then survey the major groups of organisms; we will then conclude with ecology, behavior and conservation.
EBIO1015 Biodiversity of Life (Lab). The Diversity of Life Laboratory is a series of active learning exercises, integrated into a survey of the biological kingdoms, with emphasis on comparative morphology, evolutionary design, and biodiversity. Students will have the opportunity to examine many of the organisms discussed in lecture, and will gain an understanding of and appreciation for the organisms that share our planet.
EBIO1040 Global Environmental Change. In this course, you will get acquainted with the natural processes that keep our planet alive, and the many ways in which we have upset those processes. This class will also help make you an environmentally literate citizen, who can speak (and vote) with authority on environmental issues. You will learn the language and conceptual structure of basic ecology and environmental science. This knowledge will allow you to develop informed opinions on a wide range of environmental issues. This course does not count towards a major or minor in Biology.
EBIO4660 Field Course in Tropical Field Biology and Conservation. This is an immersive two-week long study abroad course with a strong focus on experiential learning and engaged scholarship. Students will visit different sites in Ecuador and be given the opportunity to apply the theory and knowledge they have acquired in the classroom to the real world. While on the course, students will experience first hand the challenges and rewards of conducting field research and implementing conservation activities in tropical environments. These activities will take place within a context of community engagement based on active collaboration and interaction with Ecuadorian local residents in a variety of contexts.